“revolutionary tactics must harmonize with revolutionary principles”

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The idea behind #ForcetheVote is that if elected progressives in the House threaten to withhold their vote for Pelosi in exchange for Medicare for All being put to a floor vote, the movement for Medicare for All will be advanced.

There are several flaws in the logic here.

1) The focus on Nancy Pelosi is misguided.
The focus on Pelosi misunderstands how House Democrats work by making the same mistake that liberals do — putting too much emphasis on Pelosi as an individual. It’s not her personality or even political skill that enforces Democratic ideology, it’s the consensus of several Democratic Party leaders who guide everything according to a corporatist status quo and the wishes of high-powered donors. Taking out Pelosi wouldn’t get you a single step closer to M4A as the leadership threat at the basis of #ForcetheVote claims. It just means a younger person with the exact same goals and objectives is put in her place (Hakeem Jeffries, for example).

2) The Congressional Progressive Caucus has bigger plans.
The idea that the first thing the Congressional Progressive Caucus should do in its first venture during its quasi-relaunch is eat shit on a floor vote to prove their progressive credentials is misguided at best. The CPC is about to undergo what is essentially a soft relaunch with new rules for the 117th session. They now have new rules stating that if 2/3 of the CPC support a position, the caucus must vote in line with it. The first test of this newly-strengthened bloc should not be something that will immediately fail.

3) Representatives can throw away a vote
Proponents of #ForcetheVote claim that people will be enraged at their representatives’ views on Medicare for All becoming a matter of record. This ignores the fact that many people who openly disavow M4A have signed on as co-sponsors of the original bill. Voting on a resolution that all participants know will fail is by no means an accurate litmus test. Nor is it a binding obligation.

4) There are more impactful demands.
#ForcetheVote advocates could have instead pushed for committee assignments, which progressives like AOC are already being shut out of. Committee membership is much more impactful than a single vote.

5) Primaries are more complicated than a single vote.
Advocates of #ForcetheVote claim that it will be easier to primary opponents who openly identify themselves as opposed to Medicare for All. As stated in #3, this is not an accurate way of gauging true sentiment on the bill. It also does not mean that it will impact a primary race. The strongest factors in primary races are money and opponent vulnerability. Simply opposing or supporting Medicare for All is not enough to swing a race, though in many races this year it did play a role in highlighting how an incumbent was undesirable.

6) The idea of a general strike is laughable.
Proponents of #ForcetheVote claim that if people’s rage at their representatives reaches a critical point, a general strike can be launched until their demands are met. This is just short of fantasy: America has 10% union density, and even the success of a major sectoral strike is doubtful.

7) This is a new cudgel in the anti-Medicare for All arsenal.
A failed floor vote would be vastly more helpful for opponents of Medicare for All than it would for aiding advancement of the cause. They would have a fresh vote to uphold as proof positive that it cannot succeed. We would then hear about it for the next decade.

So what should be done? Listen to organizers on the ground and join DSA.


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